Talented dog travelled to work aboard the bus
Retired bakery worker Freda Hodson looks back fondly at her faithful family pet, a regular on the Potteries buses. She talks to Jenny Amphlett.
Freda Hodson is convinced her childhood pet would have been a television star if he had been alive today.
Bonzo, a wire haired fox terrier, was the ultimate faithful friend during the 1950s.
He would regularly catch a bus to meet Freda's mother after she finished work in the centre of Hanley, before walking her home.
Freda, a retired bakery worker from Rothwell Street, Penkhull, says: "Every weekday he would go down to Vale Place on his own and get on the bus to Lewis's Arcade, where he would get off to meet my mother from work as a machinist in Huntbach Street.
"All of the ladies would be looking through the window and would say when he had arrived and started waiting.
"All the bus conductors and conductresses knew our Bonzo very well indeed.
"He did it every day for years, while she was working.
"Somehow he knew the times of the buses and was able to catch them himself.
"People used to let their dogs go more freely then, as there were fewer cars on the road.
"He would be on the television if he was doing it now. He was brilliant."
Freda's family had bought their pup when Freda was aged around six years.
She named him herself, after a character in a children's book.
Sadly Bonzo only lived to the age of seven years.
"He just lay on the floor one day and died," says Freda.
Another animal has stayed in Freda's memory for very different reasons.
Freda, who celebrates her 70th birthday next week, says she was terrified of a goat belonging to the local rag and bone man.
She says: "When I was young we liked to play in Procter's scrapyard, in Brian Street.
"We sneaked in when it was closed and played in the old cars and tanks.
"If you took a collection of old rags to Mr Procter, he would give you a few pennies for them.
"With my pennies and ration book, I used to go to the sweet shop in Byron Street every Friday. It was a wonderful treat.
"But I had to pluck up my courage to take the rags as Mr Procter kept a goat tethered next to his office door, and I was terrified of it.
"Even now I'm grown-up, I'm still frightened of goats. I don't know why."
Freda was born in 1943 in Avery Street, Hanley, where she lived with her older sister, Sylvia, and parents Nellie and Edwin.
She went to York Street Primary then Glass Street School, as well as the Ragged Sunday School.
She adds: "When I got married my first house was in Trafalgar Street, not far from the Blue John potbank, and I worked for Lindops, which was also in Trafalgar Street.
"They manufactured and supplied small parts for the pottery industry.
"Friday lunchtimes always saw my work friends and I dash down to the Roebuck Inn, in Hope Street, to play the jukebox, which is where I learned to do the twist."
Freda is married to Alan. The couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in October. They have two children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Did you have a remarkable childhood pet?@ Write to Jenny Amphlett, including your full name, address and telephone number, at: Features Desk, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5SS, or email email@example.com